A York public health advisor has said ‘we must tax vapes’ to get children off e-cigarettes.
Using colourful, flavoured vapes has skyrocketed among secondary school children across the UK since the emergence of cheap fruit-flavoured versions.
Reports of children skipping lessons to vape and even primary school pupils becoming ill as a result of vaping have emerged in recent weeks.
Peter Roderick is a consultant in public health at the City of York Council.
He said vaping among children “is a big issue and it is also an issue that schools are approaching local public health teams with the most out of everything.
“There is a large quantity of disposable single-use plastic vapes that are marketed to children and at the price level children can afford.
“The thing we need to do next is tax those products very highly and enforce that they can only be sold to over 18s.
“Some of these are products that are £3.99. If we were to put an excise duty on some of these products, we’d discourage them immediately.
“It’s likely to reduce the issue of children vaping without affecting the use of vapes by smokers.”
Although vaping can be beneficial for people who want to quit smoking, many children using cheap disposable vapes with high quantities of nicotine have never smoked cigarettes.
“My take on it is that the harms of vaping are very much dependent on what you compare an e-cigarette to,” Mr Roderick said.
“So if you compare it to not smoking, there is a health harm we need to consider.
“However, if you’re comparing it to cigarettes, it’s hugely less harmful.
“So in either sense, the key message is if you smoke, try vaping to stop.
“If you don’t smoke, don’t vape.
“Particularly with children and young people, the vast majority of them are not vaping in order to quit smoking.”
He added: “There’s uncertainty over the long-term effects of having an e-cigarette.
“Certainly we know that they’re not harmless.
“One of the problems with the long-term harms of vaping is that because there are thousands of different flavours, each one will contain something different to create that flavour.”
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